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Clarification of Gun Terms: Semi-automatic, Assault, Machine gun

Many news reports and programs equate "semi-automatic" with "assault" guns. People are led to believe that a semi-automatic can shoot several rounds per second. We hear news commentators calling for a ban of semi-automatic weapons.

Federal Assault Weapons Ban: “Semi-automatic firearms, when fired, automatically extract the spent cartridge casing and load the next cartridge into the chamber, ready to fire again. They do not fire automatically like a machine gun.”

Probably most hunting guns are semi-automatic, requiring a separate trigger pull for each round; that doesn't make them assault weapons. Of course, a victim can reasonably claim “assault” even if only one shot is fired at them (assault: a crime that involves causing a victim to apprehend violence).

“Assault weapon (semi-automatic) refers primarily (but not exclusively) to firearms that possess the cosmetic features of an assault rifle (which are fully-automatic). Actually possessing the operational features, such as 'full-auto', changes the classification from an assault weapon to a Class 3 weapon. Merely the possession of cosmetic features is enough to warrant such classification as an assault weapon.”

If a weapon has certain cosmetic features of an assault rifle (e.g. pistol grip, high capacity magazine etc ) it’s classified as an assault weapon.

Note that fully-automatic operation (hold trigger - several rounds per second) is not an assault weapon but a Class 3 weapon (e.g. machine gun) regulated by National Firearms Act).

What if a semi-automatic gun has not only cosmetic features, but also operates as a Class 3 rifle?

A popular conversion product provides that:
It's approved by BATF:
Apparently the product is “OK” because the operator controls the action.

This weapon provides an advantage; but may be less accurate / continual auto may damage barrel.

Topics: gun control

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  • Dec 25 2012: Is there a classification for guns that kill children?
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      Dec 25 2012: No sir. That classification applies to people, not to equipment.
      • Dec 29 2012: No, guns don't kill people - by themselves.
        Guns must be utilized by people.
        And the classification of people using guns to destroy innocent lives seems to be increasing.
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          Dec 29 2012: I am not familiar with the statistics for what you assert, but they will not change the fact that there is no classification of firearms for killing children. The deadliest US school massacre happened in 1927 and did not involve guns. The greatest destruction of innocent human lives does not involve guns and is legal. Man's inhumanity to Man is not about guns. It is about Man himself.

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